Topeka: Kurt Johnson preview

KJ Draws Inspiration from His Daughter to Try and Seal the Deal in Topeka Daughter's soccer championship has ACDelco Cobalt racer targeting first Kansas win Sugar Hill, Ga., May 30, 2007 -- Throughout their careers, racers draw inspiration...

KJ Draws Inspiration from His Daughter to Try and Seal the Deal in Topeka
Daughter's soccer championship has ACDelco Cobalt racer targeting first Kansas win

Sugar Hill, Ga., May 30, 2007 -- Throughout their careers, racers draw inspiration from numerous sources. In the beginning, it may be a parent, mentor or racing favorite whose actions serve to light the competitive fire. As time progresses and they establish their own racing resume, their motivation may involve their pursuit of a championship, or, on a smaller scale, a rivalry against a particular opponent.

At this weekend's O"Reilly Summer Nationals in Topeka, KS, ACDelco Cobalt pilot Kurt Johnson will draw his inspiration from an unlikely source, however, as he hopes to follow the example set by his eight-year-old daughter Erin. During the extended break in the action due to the postponement of the race in Bristol, TN, Johnson was able to attend her youth soccer league championship tournament, watching from the stands as her team took home the title. Describing the games in intimate details, he is clearly motivated by his daughter's performance, and looks to achieve similar success in POWERade Drag Racing Pro Stock competition.

"One of the benefits of being home for such an extended period is that I was able to take in more of my kids' soccer games, which are typically held on the weekend," said Johnson. "Therefore, I got to watch (daughter) Erin's and (son) Conner's championship tournaments. Conner's team played well and made it to the second round, while Erin's won it all, with each game being won by one point or less, including the championship game where they held off a team that had beaten them 10-2 earlier in the year.

"It was exciting. I was extremely proud of my kids, and happy I was able to be there to see it. But now it's time to get back to work, and this weekend, our ACDelco Cobalt crew is going to use their performance as our inspiration. I guess you could say my daughter has shown me how to win."

In order to emulate his daughter's winning performance, Johnson will have to do something he has yet to do, namely take home the winner's trophy from Heartland Park Topeka, site of this weekend's event. He has come close, making it to the final round in three of the last four years, and enters this year's edition determined to take the final step and add the Kansas quarter-mile to his lengthy list of successes.

"Every year, I have a little added motivation heading to Heartland Park Topeka, simply because it's a track where I have yet to win," said Johnson. "We've come close in the last few years, making it all the way to the final, but have yet to take the trophy. This year, we're in great shape, coming off a decent showing in St. Louis, and pretty pleased with how our ACDelco Cobalt is running. We also have a good notebook on the track, so we're ready to win.

"The break has been nice, but it will be good to literally get back on track, and after the first qualifying pass on Friday, it won't even seem like we'd ever been away. We have our work cut out for us. After all, my daughter has set the standard, and now it's up to us to live up to it."

This year, ACDelco is teaming with Kurt Johnson to produce the "ACDelco Drive to Win" Sweepstakes, where entrants can win awards, racing trips and prizes, including the grand prize: a 2007 Cobalt SS complete with Genuine Chevrolet Accessories.

-credit: j2r

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson